Remember that scene in Finding Nemo where Dory and Nemo's Dad, Marlin were in the mouth of the whale? and the whale is telling them to swim to the back? Marlin freaks out and hangs on to whale tongue for dear life, while Dory screams at him to let go--that it's gonna be ok. He says "How do you know?!!" And her answer, so perfect. "I don't!!"
I love that movie and I love that scene, because the whole thing is about letting go. It's a tough thing for control freaks like me and Marlin to let go. Tough thing is a huge understatement.
In my experience, and from watching others' experience, the tighter you have something in your grip, the more likely it is that you WILL eventually be asked to let it go, or have it wrenched from your bloody clenched fist.
I think that picture is also a huge understatement. I have held too tightly to things before. I have watched other people do the same. And as excruciating as it might feel at the time to let go, refusing to open up my hand and let God have whatever it is, becomes the most painful experience of all. I have literally watched people lose their sanity in such situations. Put yourself in Abram's shoes for just a moment. What if God asked you to take a road trip to, say, the Ozarks. He said, take a hike up the mountain there, tie your oldest child up and kill her. WHAT. If God said that to one of us, we would say, that is from the Devil himself! No way would God ask me to kill my own child? I must be hearing the wrong voice!
But also suppose for a minute that Abraham said that. No way Jose', find some other moron to kill their kid for you. I ain't doin it. What would God have done then to get him out of the way-- in order to use someone else to accomplish his eternal plan for Israel, creation, and....me?
I've been involved in some pretty emotionally weighty things over the past few years. The things God has asked me to do involve people's lives, sometimes caring for people in a way that bonds me tightly to them...and then having to let go of them into His capable hands. It's rough. But I know that if I refuse to let go, He will open up my hand for me. And I will end up with broken bloody hands. I know because I have watched friends and colleagues walk away with hands looking like that, so to speak. Minds broken and worlds literally shattered because they refused to let go of something they had invested so much into. In more than one instance, in more than one situation, in more than one season of life, I have seen someone before me suffer the pain of a forced release. And I don't want that. I know that God will welcome with open arms and a comforting lap of healing and forgiveness for any and all who need hands bandaged and help getting dressed for a while, (figuratively) because of two broken hands. But I'd rather not go that way, and I have so far been blessed to have that example or that warning to stop me. Letting Go is tough. But not letting go is tougher.
So I will let go, because I know it's gonna be ok. How do I know? How do I know that nothing bad is going to happen? Well, of course I don't. Bad things happen every day. If I let go of my tight grip on my daughter and let her go on a date, or drive somewhere alone, how do I know her date won't turn out to be a jackass who takes advantage of her, or her car won't swerve off the road and a wreck take her from me forever? If I let go of my ministry, how do I know God won't ask me to step down and let someone else receive the reward of the harvest? If I let go of my sweet Elizabeth the Great, how do I know she will be alright? If I let go of my control over my husband's schedule and whereabouts, how do I know he is being faithful to me?
I don't. Only God knows when and IF he will put a ram in the thicket for me. Only He holds the future. And ONLY He loves me so much that all of it is good. For me. For the big picture, for the love story He is writing, that I can only see a page of, much less a chapter.
It's time to let go.
Then wait, and watch yourself be swallowed into a dark place. And just when you think it can't get any worse, at just the right moment, you'll shoot up into the sky on a whale-hole fountain into the place you were looking for all along. P Sherman. 42 Wallaby Way, Sidney.